High School Student Risks Life Saving Tortoises From Blaze In South Africa


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The fire in Hermanus (Photo: Butterfly World Animal Sanctuary South Africa) - Media Credit:

A high school student has been praised for his bravery after saving 33 tortoises from a fire in South Africa.

According to Corne Uys, he was evacuated along with fellow pupils, following a major blaze in the area of Hermanus. After leaving the school building, Uys teamed up with his dad to rescue tortoises and other wildlife from the fire.

Rescuing animals

“Out of the hundreds who burnt, I managed to save a total of 33 tortoises while my dad drove me up and down thru the chaos of people and blazing fires,” he said.

“Power has been off for the past two days from the fire. The fire was devastating throughout the whole mountain range and I wish I could’ve done more. Luckily we managed to save a handful and we released them this morning in the nature reserve.

“Prayers have been answered when it started raining yesterday evening. Most of the fire was put out but some of the mountain is still burning in the valley. Rip to all the animals who lost their lives. Huge thank you to our amazing fire fighters who protected the houses from burning to the ground.”


Butterfly World Animal Sanctuary South Africa posted about the daring rescue on its Facebook page, commending Uys for his bravery.

“[Corey Uys] says he wishes he could have done more,” said the post. “Young man… you have the brightest of futures ahead of you because you carry what no-one could ever take away from you…character, compassion and the guts to act.

“Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. The Animal Sanctuary @ Butterfly World. If you read this and know Corne, please tell him he and his dad can come and collect a family year ticket from us…we would LOVE to meet them.”

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